Rescue plan for Patisserie Valerie

Daniel Fowler
October 15, 2018

This morning a statement to the stock market from Patisserie Holdings, the chain's owner, said: "The company has been made aware that Chris Marsh, who is now suspended from his role as company finance director, was arrested by the police last night and has been released on bail". The probe is being led by the U.K.'s Serious Fraud Office, a spokeswoman for the Hertfordshire Constabulary said in an email Friday.

"We can give no further information or comment at this time".

Patisserie Valerie today confirmed it needs an immediate cash injection of £20m to continue trading as it revealed that historical trading updates were incorrect.

It was floated on the AIM stock market, for smaller companies, in 2014.

Patisserie Holdings said on Wednesday that it has been notified of "significant, and potentially fraudulent, accounting irregularities and therefore a potential material mis-statement of the company's accounts".

Patisserie Valerie traces its roots back to 1926 when Belgian-born Madame Valerie opened a shop in London's Soho district.

The SFO said: "Following this morning's Regulatory News Service announcement by Patisserie Holdings PLC, the SFO confirms that its director has opened a criminal investigation into an individual".

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On Wednesday, after the company announced a temporary suspension of trading it was made aware that HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) had filed a winding up petition to liquidate the company's assets over an unpaid £1.14 million tax bill.

"The board has now reached the conclusion that there is a material shortfall between the reported financial status and the current financial status of the business".

This comes after Patisserie Holdings, which also owns other brands including Philpotts, Baker & Spice and Flour Power City, warned that it would not be able to continue trading without an immediate injection of capital.

The company also plans to raise as much as £15 million through the issue of new shares.

"We are all deeply concerned about this news and the potential impact on the business", Chairman Luke Johnson said.

Entrepreneur Luke Johnson, who has a 37% stake in Patisserie Holdings, has offered up the funds alongside a drive to sell shares, raising a further £15m.

Marsh has been instrumental in the company's growth since he was appointed to the role in 2006.

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